NC beats Easton, QA
Bulldogs struggle mightily at free-throw line, but tip cold-shooting Warriors
RIDGELY — North Caroline’s boys’ basketball team improved to 7-5 overall and 7-2 in the North Bayside after wins over Easton and Queen Anne’s.
The Bulldogs defeated Easton 56-52 Thursday, Jan. 19, and knocked off the Lions 74-61 on Monday, Jan. 23.
RIDGELY — Usually, a team finding itself in a tight game doesn’t come out on top shooting 28 percent (7 for 25) from the free-throw line.
But when one’s opponent shoots around 30 percent from the floor, you have what happened to the North Caroline High boys’ basketball team Thursday against longtime rival Easton.
The Bulldogs led from the first bucket to the last to complete a regular-season sweep of the Warriors with a 56-52 triumph. It was North Caroline’s sixth straight regular-season win over Easton, which last won Feb. 6, 2014, in a 67-34 blowout.
“We work on free throws every practice — ever y single practice we do them,” Bulldogs head coach Steve Perry said after his team improved to 6-4 overall, 6-2 North Bayside. “Tonight, I don’t know what we were doing. We just couldn’t hit any.”
The Bulldogs, who had more misses than hits in the teams’ first meeting last month, came out much better on Thursday night. Six points in the paint by Kendron Wayman (10 points, eight rebounds), powered the Bulldogs’ 15-5 first-period run.
Easton (6-6, 6-4), despite picking up three turnovers from half-court pressure, turned the ball over four times, missing ever ything from the floor but two Jaedon Copper shots, one a tip-in follow.
“We just shot so cold,” Easton head coach Dionte Hynson said. “And we got in a big hole too early, and then we had to fight to get out of it.
“They were making plays right when they had to,” Hynson said of Caroline. “When we’d get some momentum they’d make a couple of big shots.”
The Warriors picked up the pace in the second quarter, though. After Caroline reserve guard Tynese Warner (six points) sank a shot to make it 17-5, 36 ticks into the second period, Easton went on a run.
Justin Fenwick (13 points, 10 rebounds) got things going with a layup at the 6:57 mark, and another 23 seconds later. His eight points in the quarter helped Easton narrow the gap to five points midway through it, but North Caroline responded, four different players scoring to stretch the lead to 27-18 at intermission.
Just before the half ended, though, the Bulldogs suffered a potentially huge injur y. Adams, driving to the rack with 1:45 left in the second, went down hard and stayed there for a couple of minutes as he was attended by his
coach and the school’s athletic trainer. Though Adams left the court under his own power, he remained on the bench for the remainder of the game.
The Warriors couldn’t capitalize on the Bulldogs’ loss of their leading scorer, though. Replacement point men Montreyse Deshields and Warner, who combined for just four second-half points, got just enough done against Easton’s intermittent full-court pressure.
Combined with the athleticism of 2-3 men David Bailey, Cameron Brown, and Mike Daniels, and rotating insiders Ja’Mion Franklin, Wayman, and Jaden Fitchett, Caroline stretched its lead to as much as 14 points before Easton narrowed it to 45-36 by the end of the third.
Though the Bulldogs — who shot just two free throws in the second half of a double-digit road loss to North front-runner Kent County on Tuesday — got 16 tries from the foul line after the break Thursday night, they sank just five. North Caroline clanged its first six, and five of its last six free throws.
“It was tough trying to hold them off without a point guard when Joey went out,” Perry said. “Warner got in there and gave us some points late, and Montreyse came in and hustled. And the bigs managed to keep it kind of even.”
Easton came on perhaps its strongest in the fourth. After Brown put the home team up 53-41 on a bucketand-1 with 4:17 to go, Ryan Farr, 1-for-6 from long range through three quarters, hit his second three-pointer.
After Chris Guy of Easton pulled down a defensive board following a failed Bailey layup attempt, Farr laid in another bucket to cut the Bulldog lead to seven.
T.J. Nixon (eight points) put back a teammate’s miss with 2:43 to go, and suddenly, the Warriors were down by just five points. It remained 53-48, Caroline, for nearly two tense minutes.
Wayman bopped in a Warner miss with 45 seconds left to give Caroline breathing room at 55-48 But Copper (12 points) took a Guy feed for a layup 11½ seconds later to make it 55-50. Copper then put back a Farr miss with 15.5 seconds to go, making it 55-52, Bulldogs.
Daniels, fouled with 9.7 seconds, gave the hosts a little breathing room by hitting the second of the ensuing pair of free throws.
Bring the ball quickly downcourt, Easton needed a 4-point play to tie it. After losing a long shot out of bounds, the Warriors got fresh life when Bailey made a rare mental error. On the inbounds pass which came after the Easton shot bounced out of bounds, Bailey did something a player is allowed to do only after the opposition makes a field goal — he ran up the baseline, looking for a target for his pass.
The action, a travel under the rules, resulted in a quick whistle and turnover with 3.9 seconds left.
But the Warriors’ inbounds was tipped, trickled almost to the far baseline, and time ran out before they could get a handle on it.
“I was telling them to shoot a three, and then go from there, but we couldn’t even do that,” Hynson said. “We threw it to the backboard, but then we turned the ball over.”
“David doesn’t usually make that kind of mistake,” Perry said. “But it happens. You get excited, close game, rival game, and you don’t think it through. We won, and they didn’t score on it.”
The Bulldogs are scheduled to make up last Saturday’s game at Dover, Del., tonight at 7 p.m.. North Caroline plays at Kent Island on Monday at 6:30 p.m. Easton will host North Dorchester on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
North Caroline Cameran Brown sinks a fade-away jumper against Easton Thursday, Jan. 19.
North Caroline’s Tay Potts drives and scores against Easton Thursday, Jan. 19.